CHILDREN'S PRATTLE

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at a rich merchant's house there was a children's party,

and the children of rich and great people were there. the

merchant was a learned man, for his father had sent him to

college, and he had passed his examination. his father had

been at first only a cattle dealer1, but always honest and

industrious2, so that he had made money, and his son, the

merchant, had managed to increase his store. clever as he was,

he had also a heart; but there was less said of his heart than

of his money. all descriptions of people visited at the

merchant's house, well born, as well as intellectual, and some

who possessed3 neither of these recommendations.

now it was a children's party, and there was children's

prattle4, which always is spoken freely from the heart. among

them was a beautiful little girl, who was terribly proud; but

this had been taught her by the servants, and not by her

parents, who were far too sensible people.

her father was groom5 of the chambers6, which is a high

office at court, and she knew it. "i am a child of the court,"

she said; now she might just as well have been a child of the

cellar, for no one can help his birth; and then she told the

other children that she was well-born, and said that no one

who was not well-born could rise in the world. it was no use

to read and be industrious, for if a person was not well-born,

he could never achieve anything. "and those whose names end

with 'sen,'" said she, "can never be anything at all. we must

put our arms akimbo, and make the elbow quite pointed7, so as

to keep these 'sen' people at a great distance." and then she

stuck out her pretty little arms, and made the elbows quite

pointed, to show how it was to be done; and her little arms

were very pretty, for she was a sweet-looking child.

but the little daughter of the merchant became very angry

at this speech, for her father's name was petersen, and she

knew that the name ended in "sen," and therefore she said as

proudly as she could, "but my papa can buy a hundred dollars'

worth of bonbons8, and give them away to children. can your

papa do that?"

"yes; and my papa," said the little daughter of the editor

of a paper, "my papa can put your papa and everybody's papa

into the newspaper. all sorts of people are afraid of him, my

mamma says, for he can do as he likes with the paper." and the

little maiden9 looked exceedingly proud, as if she had been a

real princess, who may be expected to look proud.

but outside the door, which stood ajar, was a poor boy,

peeping through the crack of the door. he was of such a lowly

station that he had not been allowed even to enter the room.

he had been turning the spit for the cook, and she had given

him permission to stand behind the door and peep in at the

well-dressed children, who were having such a merry time

within; and for him that was a great deal. "oh, if i could be

one of them," thought he, and then he heard what was said

about names, which was quite enough to make him more unhappy.

his parents at home had not even a penny to spare to buy a

newspaper, much less could they write in one; and worse than

all, his father's name, and of course his own, ended in "sen,"

and therefore he could never turn out well, which was a very

sad thought. but after all, he had been born into the world,

and the station of life had been chosen for him, therefore he

must be content.

and this is what happened on that evening.

many years passed, and most of the children became

grown-up persons.

there stood a splendid house in the town, filled with all

kinds of beautiful and valuable objects. everybody wished to

see it, and people even came in from the country round to be

permitted to view the treasures it contained.

which of the children whose prattle we have described,

could call this house his own? one would suppose it very easy

to guess. no, no; it is not so very easy. the house belonged

to the poor little boy who had stood on that night behind the

door. he had really become something great, although his name

ended in "sen,"- for it was thorwaldsen.

and the three other children- the children of good birth,

of money, and of intellectual pride,- well, they were

respected and honored in the world, for they had been well

provided for by birth and position, and they had no cause to

reproach themselves with what they had thought and spoken on

that evening long ago, for, after all, it was mere10 "children's

prattle."

the end

做人要淡定 2024-04-18 13:59:13

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